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WTO To Ease LDC Accession Requirements

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

27 January 2012

The Sub-Committee on Least Developed Countries, on January 20, agreed to start work on developing recommendations to “further strengthen, streamline and operationalize” current guidelines on the accession process of LDCs, as called for in a decision by the Eighth WTO Ministerial Conference last month.

There are ten LDCs in the process of acceding to the WTO: Afghanistan, Bhutan, Ethiopia, Laos, Liberia, Comoros, Sao Tome & Principe, Sudan, Equatorial Guinea and Yemen.

Bangladesh, speaking on behalf of the LDC Group, said that the decision on LDC accession was a significant result of the Eighth Ministerial Conference, and urged members to adhere to the deadline of July 2012 to complete the work program. It said that the LDC Group's proposal tabled last year, which included a number of specific suggestions, should be a reference point in the informal consultations that the Chair intends to launch next week.

Australia, China, the European Union, Hong Kong (China), Japan, Turkey and the United States said they would participate constructively in the upcoming consultations to ensure a productive outcome that would further facilitate the accession of LDCs to the WTO.

The next formal meeting of the Sub-Committee is scheduled for April 2012.

TAGS: tax | Bhutan | Liberia | export duty | intellectual property | tariffs | World Trade Organisation (WTO) | Australia | China | Comoros | Ethiopia | Laos | Sudan | Yemen | excise duty | Afghanistan | Bangladesh | Guinea | Hong Kong | United States | import duty | trade | Japan | Turkey | free trade zone

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